Myanmar government plans to invite international tenders to bid for railway upgrade projects including the Yangon-Mandalay railway line, said a ministry official at the recent Myanmar Infrastructure Summit.
“Foreign investments are required for our projects. In terms of international aid, JICA [Japan International Cooperation Agency] has contributed the largest. Nevertheless, we will put out [our projects] to international tenders. It’s not true that we will just give them to Japan,” said Kyaw Kyaw Myo, assistant general manager at the Ministry of Rail Transportation.
“There are 13 railways to upgrade in medium term and 8 in long term. Among them, 5 require urgent upgrade and they will be prioritized,” said Kyaw Kyaw Myo.
The five essential railways that shall be prioritized in upgrade projects are the Yangon-Mandalay, Mandalay-Myitkyina, Bago-Mottama-Mawlamyine-Yay, Yangon-Pyay and Yangon circular railway lines, according to the Ministry of Rail Transportation.
For the Yangon-Mandalay railway upgrade project, the JICA has offered an Official Development Assistance loan of 20 billion yens (US$ 201.6 million). The JICA is also in discussion with the Myanmar Railways about the project proposals for installing operation control center system and safety equipment at local railway stations.
For Bago-Dawei railway line’s upgrade between 2016 and 2020, the government has planned to obtain a US$ 100 million loan from the Asian Development Bank. Likewise, a loan proposal will be submitted to the Korean EXIM Bank for the upgrade of Mandalay-Myitkyina railway.
“In Myanmar, most locomotives are quite old, and so are most railway lines. They hinder rail transportation. The railway sector needs infrastructural development. We need to buy locomotives and train cars and arrange their maintenance,” Kyaw Kyaw Myo said.
Source: ELEVEN Myanmar